Posted: October 7, 2015 Contributor: PRJKT RUBY

New HIV Pre-Exposure Drug Offers Breakthrough

While we do not yet have a cure for HIV, the new daily pill form of a pre-exposure medication may go a long way toward reducing the rate of new infections. If you haven’t heard of this medication, you aren’t alone so lets get down to the basics.

The medication is called PrEP which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. The idea behind the medication is to prevent HIV from infecting the body when exposed to the virus. It’s actually similar to many medications used by those currently infected in order to keep the virus under control.

While it may sound like a vacation of sorts, the pill does not work in the same way. It does not contain any amount of the virus and is actually a combination of two drugs that when present daily in the bloodstream can stop HIV from spreading through the body. If the pill isn’t taken each day, it may not be as effective in preventing infection.

So why would you want to take PrEP? While most people may not consider themselves to be at daily risk of HIV infection, there are some people who do put themselves in harms way all too often.

Currently the CDC recommends considering PrEP if you fit any of the following high-risk categories:

Groups most at risk for transmission

  • Heterosexual men and women who don’t regularly use condoms with partners who have an unknown HIV status or have sex with people who inject drugs or have bisexual male partners.
  • Gay or bisexual men who have anal sex without using a condom or have been diagnosed with an STD within the past 6 months.
  • Recommended for heterosexual couples where one partner has HIV and the other does not. This can be particularly helpful when the couple is attempting to have children.
  •  People using injectable drugs – This includes anyone who injects illicit drugs (or has in the past 6 months) and who  may have shared injection equipment with anyone or been in drug treatment for injectable drugs in the past 6 months.